So, I finally saw that there Wolverine movie film. I kept saying that I was going to see it, and I finally did. Wolverine is my favorite comic book series, so I inevitably had some interest in the film. I can’t say that I was looking forward to it, but I wanted to see it, despite the fact that I had low expectations for it. I don’t think Wolverine (Volume 3, or Origins) can translate to film well without losing part of what makes the Wolverine comics whole. There’s a lot of dialogue, story telling, and slow bits in the comics, all of which I really enjoy. However, I don’t think your average viewer is going to care about those things. I imagine they’re going to be expecting an action movie, rather than something with a storyline that’s being perpetually woven at a prodding pace.
I’ll add a preface to this, and say that I think I am a bad gauge for how good, or bad this film is. A gross understatement is that I like Wolverine. If I were to count my collection of Wolverine comics it would number in the hundreds. Not one hundred, two hundred, but somewhere around four hundred, five hundred. I have been subjected to every subtlety and nuance that Wolverine has to offer. Anything I see in this film will have been something I’ve seen before, sans the things that were changed for the purposes of adaptation.
With that being said, I didn’t dislike it, though to say I like it would be a bit of a stretch. I find it hard to nitpick the film for all its inaccuracies about Wolverine, because I get adaptation. Something that takes six months worth of comics does not flawlessly translate to a two hour film. But, nitpick I shall. Wolverine Origin, the six part miniseries that ran in 2002, the one featuring James Howlett as a child, the story found in that could have been given more than a minute of screen time. The title of the film is indeed Wolverine Origins, and it all started in Alberta, in the 1850s. I don’t understand producers or the film industry, but it seems the story in Wolverine Origin definitely had a place in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Nitpicking aside, the actual film. If you asked me what was wrong with it, I couldn’t tell you. It’s an action movie, it has Wolverine, it has action, and it doesn’t take place during the same time that Wolverine Volume 3, or the previous X-Men films were taking place, so I suppose, in that sense, it’s earned the ‘Origins’ name. It might be easy to complain about how bland the cameos were, or supporting cast, I guess you could say. Kestrel wasn’t given enough screen time to be fleshed as anything other than a supporting character, same goes for Stryker, Bolt, Agent Zero, and Gambit, so that’s forgivable. I wasn’t expecting all of these characters to be fleshed out to my satisfaction in a two hour film. I’ve been reading and seeing them for over a decade, of course they’re not going to become interesting characters in a two hour film.
Despite most of the characters being two dimensional, I found the casting to be well done. Wolverine is 5’3″, rather than the 6’3″ that Hugh Jackman towers at, but Mr. Jackman puts more into his role of Wolverine than most actors ever put into any of their roles, so I’ll give him credit for that. I was initially turned off by the fact that lumbering frame of Hugh Jackman was going to portray the diminutive ball of muscle of that is Wolverine, but he’s definitely earned his keep. It’s incredibly apparent that Hugh Jackman loves to play Wolverine, and I can’t discredit him for that.
Hugh Jackman aside, there are still other cast members. I’m sure people will disagree with me, but I thought Will.i.Am looked great as Kestrel, however the depth of Kestrel in the film was lacking. Danny Huston did a decent job as William Stryker, given how little time he was given to flesh out his character. Bolt wasn’t even relevant, and I thought Taylor Kitsch looked good as Gambit. But Gambit, much like Bolt, wasn’t relevant to the film, if we were exposed to him for more than four minutes of screen time, I imagine he’d be able to do a good job with the role.
I still haven’t touched on the two most relevant characters outside of Wolverine. Silver Fox, and Sabertooth. Liev Schreiber makes a good Sabertooth, he’s got the voice and the look to make it work. And while we’re on the topic of Sabertooth; That is one of the reasons I think I am a bad gauge for this film. I’ve read a lot of Wolverine comics. A lot. I’ve read Volume 1, 2 and 3, Origins, and I don’t know how many one shots and miniseries. I’ve seen a lot of the whole Wolverine/Sabertooth dispute. I’m sick of it. So entirely bloody sick of it. I can’t stand it anymore. Whenever Sabertooth shows up in Origins, or Volume 3, I roll my eyes, and let out an audible ‘ugh’, because I know I have to deal with this shit for another three months worth of comics. I want Sabertooth to die or go away forever. Not in a “Boo he hates Wolverine so he’s a bad man!” kind of way. In a “Oh my God I am so sick of this shit” kind of way.
Tangent aside, Liev Schreiber plays Sabertooth well, but Sabertooth isn’t given enough time to be presented well in the film. And Silver Fox. You know, I’ve gotten this far without complaining, but I’ll give it a try; Silver Fox sucked shit in the film. I’m sure Lynn Collins is a good actress, but it’s like they went out of their way to make Silver Fox a boring character in this film. That’s not to say I think Silver Fox is a beacon of thrills outside of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but they really stiffened up her role in the film. The rest of the cameos, the ones I didn’t even mention, were so irrelevant they’re not even worth mentioning, but that’s to be expected. It’s Wolverine Origins, not Team X Origins.
5,500 characters and I haven’t even talked about the film itself yet, which is in large part because I don’t have a lot to say about the film. It was an action flick, it had action. There was fighting and exploding, though no one fought to the extent that they exploded. There were back alley fight scenes with expendable props everywhere, and motorcycle chase scenes. From that perspective, the perspective of an action film, it does it’s job. I could say it did it’s job too well, and that it omitted the more story driven elements of Wolverine in favor of action, but it’s an action movie. It did what it’s supposed to do. If you were expecting to get the same kind of pace of storytelling found in Vol. 3 or Origins, when you were going to see an action movie, that’s your own fault.
It’s adaptation. I get that. They took Wolverine, and made it into an action flick. That’s like taking Jazz and turning it into Arena Rock. Something was going to be lost in the translation, and I get that. Stan Lee gets that. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was made to appease mainstream audiences, not the niche of people who have read hundreds of Wolverine comics like myself, and knowing the people who will read this, much like yourself as well. It wasn’t made for us, I get that, and I have no problem with it. You don’t drop $150,000,000 USD on a film to cater to a niche crowd, and I think the product they made isn’t bad for what it aimed to do. Remember nerds: It wasn’t made for us, of course we’re not going to like it.